Purpose: Despite the clear synergy between high channel counts in a receive array and magnetic fields ≥ 7 Tesla, to date such systems have been restricted to a maximum of 32 channels. Here, we examine SNR gains at 7 Tesla in unaccelerated and accelerated images with a 64-receive channel (64Rx) RF coil. Methods: A 64Rx coil was built using circular loops tiled in 2 separable sections of a close-fitting form; custom designed preamplifier boards were integrated into each coil element. A 16-channel transmitter arranged in 2 rows along the z-axis was employed. The performance of the 64Rx array was experimentally compared to that of an industry-standard 32-channel receive (32Rx) array for SNR in unaccelerated images and for noise amplification under parallel imaging. Results: SNR gains were observed in the periphery but not in the center of the brain in unaccelerated imaging compared to the 32Rx coil. With either 1D or 2D undersampling of k-space, or with slice acceleration together with 1D undersampling of k-space, significant reductions in g-factor noise were observed throughout the brain, yielding effective gains in SNR in the entire brain compared to the 32Rx coil. Task-based FMRI data with 12-fold 2D (slice and phase-encode) acceleration yielded excellent quality functional maps with the 64Rx coil but was significantly beyond the capabilities of the 32Rx coil. Conclusion: The results confirm the expectations from modeling studies and demonstrate that whole-brain studies with up to 16-fold, 2D acceleration would be feasible with the 64Rx coil.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (U01 EB025144, P41 EB015894, and P30 NS076408) and the Human Connectome Project (1U54MH091657) from the 16 Institutes and Centers of the NIH that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research
Funding information National Institutes of Health, Grant/Award Number: P30 NS076408, P41 EB015894, U01 EB025144 and U54 MH091657; Human Connectome Project, Grant/Award Number: 1U54MH091657 This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (U01 EB025144, P41 EB015894, and P30 NS076408) and the Human Connectome Project (1U54MH091657) from the 16 Institutes and Centers of the NIH that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research
- RF coils
- functional imaging
- parallel imaging
- simultaneous multislice